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Old 10-21-2008, 11:44 PM   #1
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


We used a roller to apply one coat of Behr deck plus semi-transparent stain on the front porch Sunday. It's now Tuesday night and we still can't walk on it because the surface is sticky/tacky. (It doesn't stick to my shoes, but my soles leave a pattern when I step onto the deck.)
We live in Seattle, so drying may be an issue. (It rained Monday, but the porch is covered. It didn't rain today and it's not supposed to rain tomorrow.) The weather has been hovering in the low 50s.
So are we toast? I've been reading the forum (after the fact, unfortunately) and know many of you don't like Behr products.
Will this ever dry? Is there anything we can do short of power spraying or sanding? With winter rains around the corner, I really don't want to risk going back to bare wood.

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Old 10-22-2008, 12:14 AM   #2
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


I know very little about deck stains, but I do know how oil based coatings form films. What you're describing sounds to me like an oil based coating that's slow to cure because of the relatively low temperature.

I'm going to proceed on the assumption that THIS is the product you used:
http://www.behr.com/behrx/act/view/p...tains&catId=12

If you didn't use it all, then I'd confim there's nothing wrong with the stain by applying any unused portion you may still have to a piece of scrap wood and leaving it to cure at room temperature.

The binder in oil based coatings cures or "dries" due to a chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air that crosslinks all the alkyd resins together. As the temperature goes down, the rate of that chemical reaction slows down as well. However, it still continues at a much slower rate while it's cold. When it warms up again, that chemical reaction will accelerate again. My best advice is to just put up with the cool weather, and to stay off the deck (so as not to mess up the smooth surface you'd otherwise have) until it's hard enough to walk on.

Drying oils like Linseed oil or Tung oil, alkyd paints, polyurethane varnishes and hardwood floor finishes, Oil/varnish mixtures like Danish oil and Swedish oil, real old fashioned varnish and exterior oil based stains all form films through that chemical reaction with the oxygen in the air (a process called "auto-oxidation"). And, in all cases, you can paint any of these coatings on during a December blizzard, have them remain tacky all winter long, and in all cases they will cure properly once the warm weather returns again the following spring. The cold weather just slows the rate of curing, but doesn't interfere with that auto-oxidation process by which they cure.

PS: Truth be known, this is a perfect example of how a company can get a good or bad reputation. Most people just don't know enough about the paints and stuff they use to know why they're behaving as they are, whether that's a long curing time or poor hide or peeling in wet conditions or remaining slightly sticky after they're dry or whatever. So most times, people will blame or praise the name on the can when they get poor results, or great ones, respectively.

In this case, you woulda got the exact same results regardless of whose name was on the can.


Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 10-22-2008 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:25 AM   #3
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


Patience sounds much easier than power spraying.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


No problem.

I just wish there were a good web site on the internet that explained auto-oxidation in oil based coatings, but I haven't found one yet.

And, everything in that last post applies ONLY to oil based coatings. Latex paints and water based stains are a whole nuther kettle of fish. They form films completely differently, and low temperatures or high humidity will wreck them.
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:57 AM   #5
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


More than likely its humidity retarding dry time. That and you picked one of the absolute worst deck stains on the market. Behr's failure rate on deck stains is extremely high. So if it doesn't come out well don't' fret it too much. You'll likely have to strip the deck and redo it soon anyway, which can be a real pain if you chose the Behr product with Silicone in it.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:57 PM   #6
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Help! Sticky, tacky deck stain


I used a clear Behr once (wife bought it before I met her) and it was worse than awful. If you applied it too thin, it looked horrible. If you applied it too thick, it never dried. If you applied it just right, it "protected" your deck for about a week. I learned later there was a class-action lawsuit on that particular product, it was so bad.

On top of that, the application process involved going over it over and over again until the wood stopped drinking it. That means you ended up doing about five coats before the job was done. All that for a product that did not, in fact, actually work.

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